Best Practices for Dealing with Bad Reviews

Everyone has an opinion, and regrettably as a small business owner some of those opinions could cause your business a great deal of trouble. Managing your online reputation is a big must-do item on your daily checklist. Fail to do it, and you might find people deserting you in droves. Bad reviews are a reality of online life. They are really easy to post, and will often influence large segments of the target audience in your favor or not. The trick is getting much more of the favorable to outweigh the unavoidable negative.

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How to manage a negative review

Here are three steps to proactively cope with the sporadic negative review.

  1. Customer service ought to be a top priority – Many times the reason why companies are in the position of managing a especially nasty online review is they failed to attend to business as soon as the problem first came up. Very often the customer tried to reach out, but had no response, and felt as though they had no choice but to air their problems online at a review site. A great deal of this can be avoided by taking a proactive approach with respect to monitoring your onsite and social media channels, so you’ll know when a problem comes up.
  2. Be professional at all times – The very last thing you want to do is get in to an online shouting match with a client. This will not work out well for you, ever! Even if you’re right, you’re completely wrong to engage in this fashion, as it will scale this problem to heights you wouldn’t think possible. Strive to remain professional, generous, and endeavor to keep that customer, or at a minimum make sure you don’t lose more of them! Because this type of customer usually represents about 1% of your customer base, it’s simply not worth the trouble it causes.
  3. Foster positive reviews – A proven way you can actively help your online reputation is encouraging positive reviews of your products or services form your satisfied customers. Most are glad to help, and if these appear regularly, the likelyhood that the occasional negative review will stand much of a chance of remaining high in the search results are slim. View it as not only as managing your online reputation, but as a way of promoting your business, for free!

Handling negative reviews isn’t rocket science, but it does call for persistence and professionalism. These days with the speed of communication online, you haven’t any other choice but to utilise an online PR. Contact us today!

How to Use Humor to Connect with Your Audience

The great 19th Century Irish playwright and humorist Oscar Wilde uttered these last words: “Either this wallpaper goes, or I do.” Why some enterprising wallpaper company hasn’t used this is beyond me, however it does go to underscore the reality that humor sells. Humor effectively disarms people, often by getting them to see your point in a way they hadn’t considered before, and initiates a connection where you may have had a tough time creating some with your latest PowerPoint filed with facts. Art Linkletter told us that laughter is the best medicine, and he was spot on. It might be the cure for what ails your company as well! Let’s consider 4 ways to use humor in your small business marketing.

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4 great ways to use humor in your marketing!

Use pop culture to your advantage – Jon Stewart and the rest of the late night crowd have made careers around this, so don’t be scared to use current events to spice up you offerings. It’s not necessary to be completely relevant to your product or service, (but the ones that tie it in well are rock stars!) but merely to get your reader/watcher smiling and in a good frame of mind from the start. Showing events in a humorous way can get your content shared faster than Lindsay Lohan skipping rehab.

Make a funny video – Portraying your products or services in a humorous light can get people anticipating your videos wondering what you will do next. Making these doesn’t really need to be a major production either, as many shoot them on their smartphones, which is by far enough camera. Another good tactic here is to use animated videos with services like GoAnimate or Xtranormal easy to use apps to make your videos quickly.

Create funny memes – Who hasn’t encountered these on Facebook and other social sites? Incorporating this idea with the millions of users on sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr is a recipe for ridiculous traffic numbers.

Use humor in your content – Don’t be timid with respect to getting a little edgy with your content. The payoff will be that people will see you as more like they are, and not simply some stodgy firm bent on selling them a product. The more you connect on a shared (and funny!) level, the better people will like you and share your site.

Ways to Use Instagram in Your Marketing You Probably Hadn’t Thought Of!

Ways to Use Instagram in Your Marketing You Probably Hadn’t Thought Of!

We’ve all noticed as Instagram is the latest web property to soar to stratospheric heights, and with their acquisition by Facebook, it appears as if that’s not likely to slow anytime soon. What’s been fascinating to note however is how innovative marketers have started to use the platform in ways you might not have imagined.

Let’s hear it for Kuwaiti ingenuity!

As reported by Kottke.org, many enterprising Kuwaitis are using Instagram to sell almost anything you can think of. Some examples include makeup services, Manga, fashion items and sheep. Yes, that’s right, sheep. While you may find that selling sheep over Instagram might not work as well in the U.S., you’ve got to give these herdsmen a lot of credit for finding and adapting this wildly popular platform for use in their local economy. They just find list their wares they wish to sell, attach a price to it, and wait for responses to their smartphone. Since there is no payment processing as yet on Instagram, all of these transactions occur in another fashion, but that’s hardly stopping anyone.

What are the takeaways here for us?

The key lesson to learn here is that there is always opportunity for those willing to think outside the box and explore the possibilities. You may not be inclined to sell directly off of Instagram, but some marketers already are using it to direct to CPA offers, send people to squeeze pages for list building and more. With a base so large and growing daily, Instagram delivers a unique opportunity to connect with people who are interested, (at least in the images you uploaded) and it’s your job to find a way to connect the dots in your marketing efforts. Let your imagination go a little wild!

You might want to get into it now, however, as given that this is now a Facebook property, it’s very likely change will be a part of its future, so strike now!

Instagram marketing is just one of the many ways to engage your target market online. Contact us today and we’ll help you with the type of marketing campaign that suits you best.

Is Marketing Automation Software Right for Your Business?

Many people make the mistake of thinking that marketing automation software is just for for email marketing. Even though it certainly had its birth there, what we’re referring to is a lot more sophisticated application.

Marketing automation software is defined by Wikipedia  “Marketing automation refers to software platforms designed for marketing departments and organizations to automate repetitive tasks. Marketing departments, consultants and part-time marketing employees benefit by specifying criteria and outcomes for tasks and processes that are then interpreted, stored and executed by software, which increases efficiency and reduces human error. Originally focused on email marketing automation, marketing automation refers to a broad range of automation and analytic tools for marketing.”

So how does this benefit your small business?

When it became clear that some 93% of B2B buyers are using the search engines to begin their buying process, it was incumbent for businesses to find a way to streamline the inbound marketing process, and make it easier and less time intensive to look after. Marketing automation software is the tool which makes this happen, allowing marketers to more easily manage every aspect of your lead generation process. Software such as this will not only get traffic to your site, but will also start them on the buying process with offers and relevant emails and other content. It can also segment your leads by source, interests and any other considerations.

The way this works is that the system relies on a complex series of rules to trigger action items; which can be either more content, a special offer, or follow-up email message. This provides the visitor precisely what they are looking for and frees up your staff for other tasks. One particularly crucial thing to note is that if you decide to go for a marketing automation software, there will have to be a obligation keeping the content funnel filled, as this is what it operates on.

If maintaining all the tasks you must do in your business is becoming a challenge, or you are simply looking to scale your small business, then marketing automation software might be right for you. Check into it today!

Which Email Marketing Application to Choose?

Having a terrific email marketing application to work with is an essential part of your online business marketing. A few of the things you’ll need in a service include the ability to deliver your emails promptly and consistently, but in addition offers the tools required for you to properly analyze your efforts. You also need the ability to send and schedule emails, the ability to use both plain text and html, email tracking, analytics, a form builder and more. So which do you choose? There are lots of capable services, though each one has its own quirks and strengths. To help you choose we’ve covered five of the most popular ones used by online marketers, and given you a running start!

5 Top email marketing applications

  • AWeber – AWeber has earned a reputation as one of the best, due largely to best deliverability in the business. They also have quite explicit policies about the makeup of your lists. No adding lists you’ve purchased or otherwise come across to their system; they must be very clean. They stress double-optin, and even though you can do single optin, you must jump through some hoops to do so. They also have a simple to use interface, good reporting, and their forms builder is a breeze to use. Prices start at $19 a month.
  • GetResponse – This service is a favorite among a lot of affiliate marketers, and they are very friendly to them. A little more lax on list composition, and offering a good form builder, GetResponse is a excellent choice for getting started. GetResponse comes with a 30-day free trial, and costs start at $17 after that. (deals are available!)
  • MailChimp – A good place for newcomers to start, as they offer a free option (no autoresponders) and are inexpensive to boot. They boast some impressive analytics reports including tweet trends, goal tracking, revenue charts and social analytics, good deliverability, and integrate your social media services. They’ve got premade templates you can use, but their builder is sub-standard. Still overall, MailChimp offers excellent value for the money.
  • iContact – iContact has an easy to use interface and are also fantastically priced, starting at around $10 a month. iContact makes it easy to integrate with many other services as well, including SalesForce, Google Analytics and others. One negative is that they have no customer service on the weekends.
  • Constant Contact – ConstantContact is much more than an email service provider. They provide a number of other services, such as app and integrations to allow you to sync up other services, a deal application (think Groupon) and will offer you a free trial. The one thing we don’t like is that they are not that great in deliverability, and the site is difficult to navigate.

Your email marketing service can be one of your most lethal weapons in your marketing arsenal. Choose wisely!

Contact us today!

5 Ways to Use Location Based Marketing in Your Small Business

5 Ways to Use Location  Based Marketing in Your Small Business
There’s no more ignoring the fact that business is heading to where you live. You prove it to yourself daily you go out of the house armed with your smartphone, ready, willing and able to seek out and conduct business and pleasure while out and about. So, since this is where the business is, it makes sense to make sure your business is planted firmly in the path of this wave, and be able to profit from location based marketing.

5 Tips to help you profit with Location Based Marketing

  1. Complete your local listings – According to Yext, businesses are losing at least $10.3 billion dollars a year simply by neglecting to get their business information updated and accessible on their profiles and sites. This is a cardinal sin, and one that ought to be addressed immediately. If your company is not being found, your competitors will be! Make sure you get your listings correct on sites like Google Local, Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, MapQuest and any others you are using.
  2. Reward reviews! – Rewarding reviews is a straightforward and cost-effective method to create terrific social proof, and make your current customers happy as well! You don’t have to give away the store, and plenty of regular customers are all too happy to do this for free (but give them something anyway)!
  3. Shower your customers with perks – In connection with the above, always make sure it is worth their while to come back repeatedly. There are lots of ways to do this including coupons, a loyalty program, backlinks and more.
  4. Employ coupons and daily deals – Entrepreneur tells us that there are two ways that we can engage through location based marketing. One is by pushing ads out to them, and the other is by allowing your business to be in a position to be “discovered”. Both are essential elements of a winning campaign.
  5. Be responsive to your customers – Nothing speaks care like you talking back to customers or prospects who are asking questions. This shows you give a darn, and this also can mean extremely positive word of mouth! (or mouse) However, if you fail to do this and leave people unanswered, you’ll soon feel their wrath!

Location-based marketing is a marvelous way to develop your presence in your local market. Start using it today!

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